My First Apartment
My First Apartment
One million years ago, Heather, my Best Blond Friend #1, asked me to get an apartment with her in Northfield. It was the summer after sophomore year college. She had to take a summer class and I had to not live with my parents. So I secured about 14 part time jobs (nanny, house cleaner, waitress at Happy Chef, hospital admissions rep) and we found 3 bedroom apartment in the upper half of a house across the street from the hospital where we both admitted patients into the ER for charming things like ‘sliced up hand at Burger King’ or ‘sudden urgent need for Demerol.’
Our landlord was this man named Bernie Horesh. I think that’s how it was spelled. He was skinny and had a man-perm and he liked to wear these purple Girbeaux jeans. He also had 6 children and owned a laundromat/tanning parlor, which explained his deep orange tan and the 11-year-old kid who came over to mow our cruddy lawn periodically. This was all around the time of the Waco religious thing and so we jokingly called him Bernie Horesh and The Branch Land-lordians. Not to his face.
But Bernie was very nice to us. He gave us a lease, because he said he could tell we were nice girls and that a lease is a form of protection to a tenant, and without one, we were vulnerable. The guys who lived downstairs from us in the apartment didn’t have a lease.
“That means, if they don’t pay, I just go over there and start throwing their crap out onto the street. Evict ’em, vigilante style,” Bernie told us. “I’m the type of person who doesn’t have a lot of patience for excuses.”
Heather and I were duly chastened by this. We were the type of persons who didn’t want to have our carefully curated college possessions tossed out a window by a tan, permed father of six wearing purple jeans.
So, blah blah blah. We lived in our upstairs apartment. It was small and had no living area and no air conditioning and the bathroom always clogged up with hair which made Heather’s boyfriend have to come over periodically and clean it out (“I pulled out a fucking wig outta that thing,” he said, all disgusted.) But it was fun, being on our own. I didn’t have a car, so I had to ride my bike to the grocery and to my humiliating job at Happy Chef. We had our boyfriends over all the time. I made giant bowls of foods we lived off for weeks, like raw cookie dough or enormous tubs of fresh salsa. Heather’s boyfriend stole a giant thingie of ice cream from the college cafeteria where he worked and we made our way through a metric ton of Maple Nut. We laid in the backyard which was full of ant-hills and got tan in our bikinis while Heather studied organic chemistry and I read poetry (not even kidding. Poetry used to be my beach reading. Can you imagine?)
Predictably, one day, one of our downstairs neighbors got evicted, vigilante style. He was the type of person who wore a jean-jacket with cut-off arms and no shirt underneath and had black satin sheets, which Heather and I witnessed while Bernie did his vigilante thing for the next several days. Jean-Jacket Guy had a roommate who loaded watermelons onto a truck for a living. His named was Paul or Greg or Dave, some one syllable name like that, and he liked Heather. He asked her out on a date, which scandalized us because he was so clearly brawny from all the watermelon-hauling that it seemed ridiculous that he’d even consider her a possibility. I mean, we were cute girls, especially Heather, when she was sunbathing in her bikini top and her Hanes Her Way undies in the backyard (laundry day, you know), but Paul/Greg/Dave was so clearly a Real Live Adult! An Adult with giant arms and a pick-up truck and no lease. She turned him down, sadly, though he was very handsome. But at any moment, his shit could have been flying through the window, vigilante-style, too. This world is a difficult place.
The point of me telling this is that Heather and I have always used that phrase, “I’m the type of person…” as an excuse to crack up laughing about Bernie. Also, because I never really like it when people self-define that way. People can be notoriously bad observers of themselves. Plus, how can you really say that, what type of person you are? When you are always changing?
Like, Heather could have said, “I’m the type of person who wears Hanes Her Ways in an effort to pass them off as swimwear because my bikini bottoms are in the wash.” And I was the type of person who couldn’t help pointing out the little “Hanes Her Way” script on the elastic band. But she’s not the Hanes Her Way type anymore (though I’m still the Pointing-It-Out type.)
Or, I could have said, “I’m the type of person who works in a hospital, where I do things like overhead paging to clear the parking lot so the helicopter could land with a trauma delivery from some poor bastard in Dundas whose arms got ripped off in a thresher accident.” Actually, that never happened, but they paid me seven bucks an hour to do those kinds of things. But now I’m the type of person who starts sweating if I have to visit somebody in a hospital when they’ve had a baby.
Heather could have said, “I’m the type of person who lays in bed smoking and watching Geraldo when I feel sick.” I could have said that, too. But now Heather’s the type of person who would rather watch BBC shows and I’m the type of person who wants to make out with dumb watermelon-hauling guys with brawny arms.
At least, that’s the type of person I think I am. And the type of person Heather is. For today, at least.